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Fairmont Maldives Sirru Fen Fushi appoints Iain McCormack as General Manager

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Fairmont Maldives Sirru Fen Fushi has appointed Iain McCormack as its new General Manager.

With a wealth of luxury hospitality experience spanning an impressive four decades, Iain’s expertise and insight will be a valuable asset to one of the newest luxury openings in the Maldives.

Having spent extended periods of time in Asia working with international hospitality companies such as Leading Hotels of the World and IHG as well as in the Maldives as the General Manager of Soneva Gili (now Gili Lankanfushi), Iain joins the first property in the Maldives by Fairmont Hotels & Resorts with an inherent understanding of what makes the archipelago’s hospitality industry so unique.

Most recently Iain served as the Global Group Director of the Karma Group, an award-winning international travel and lifestyle hospitality brand. In his role, he had full strategic control of the group’s 27 boutique and luxury resorts, including implementing brand standard systems, setting up structured sales and marketing plans, and driving the development division.

During his time in Asia, Iain had served as the Consultant General Manager at Naman Retreat, in Danang Vietnam, and as the General Manager at InterContinental Danang, Vietnam, contributing to the resort’s multiple accolades, including winning “World’s Leading Luxury Resort” in 2014 and 2015.

In addition to Asia, the Southampton College graduate had also worked in key leadership roles in hotels across the UK and Caribbean, including the Gleneagles Hotel, The Metropole Hotel and Sandals Royal Caribbean Resort.

Part of AccorHotels, the stunning new Fairmont Maldives Sirru Fen Fushi offers 112 luxury villas, each with a private pool. Sirru Fen Fushi, which means ‘secret water island’ in the local Dhivehi language, is set on an exceptionally lush island bursting with flora and fauna. The picturesque locale is also surrounded by powder white sand beaches, peppered with thatched-roofed villas overlooking an endless turquoise sea.

The all-villa resort located in the northern Shaviyani atoll is ideal for couples or families, and features 200 metres of infinity pools as well as luxury safari-style tented villas nestled in the island’s lush interior jungle.

A newcomer to the Maldives booming tourism industry, AccorHotels is on a major expansion drive, with three existing properties and two under development in the island nation.

The French multinational hotel group took over the management of Dhevanafushi from Dubai-based hospitality group Jumeirah last year, with plans to reposition the luxury resort under the iconic Raffles Hotels and Resorts brand.

Mercure Maldives Kooddoo Resort, the only resort in the Maldives with direct access to an airport, welcomed the first group of tourists in August 2017. The resort, located in the southern Gaafu Alif atoll, was officially inaugurated in September 2017.

AccorHotels has also signed up to manage another resort being developed in Gaafu Alif atoll.

Set to open next year, the Pullman Maldives Maamutaa resort is a traditional ‘one island, one resort’ property located a 10-minute speedboat ride away from its sister property, the Mercure Maldives Kooddoo Resort. The five star resort will offer upscale modern facilities such as two swimming pools, a sunset bar overlooking the lagoon, a luxury spa, a state-of-the-art fitness centre, a kids club, beach playground, tennis courts, gourmet restaurants, organic gardens, a dive centre and a water sports centre.

Alongside Raffles, Pullman, Sofitel, Swissôtel and MGallery, Fairmont Hotels and Resorts is part of the luxury brands portfolio of AccorHotels. With 75 properties in 24 countries, hotels under the Fairmont banner offer guests an extraordinary place that is created by combining unique architecture and structure, expressive decor and artistry, magnificent features and exceptional service all in one great location.

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Pulse Hotels & Resorts unveils new residential project: The Coral Residences, Kandima

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Pulse Hotels & Resorts, one of the leading innovators in Maldives tourism, has introduced The Coral Residences, Kandima. Nestled on the northern end of the lush and green three-kilometre-long Kandima Integrated Island Resort in Dhaalu Atoll, this residential development is a first of its kind and promises to redefine luxury living in the Maldives.

Designed and crafted with meticulous attention to detail, The Coral Residences, Kandima, is a unique, integrated beachfront residential community with exceptional 5-star service, situated in the shimmering blue heart of the Maldives.

The Coral Residences comprises of 40 exquisitely designed two bedroom and three bedroom apartments. All apartments feature contemporary design and chic interiors, high-end finishes, state-of-the-art appliances, and unobstructed panoramic sea views across the Indian Ocean. Residence owners will enjoy exclusive access to a host of premium facilities, including a private beachfront pool, a gourmet restaurant and bar, dedicated fitness and recreation facilities and a 24-hour concierge service.

Buyers of The Coral Residences will be able to own their apartments under the new strata title ownership program. Owners’ apartments will be part a rental program, managed by Pulse Hotels & Resorts. Residents will have the access to the full range Kandima’s 5-star resort services, including its restaurants and bars, spa, recreation, and other amenities to complement their lifestyle. With its emphasis on comfort, convenience, and community, this development offers a truly elevated living experience.

“We are thrilled to introduce The Coral Residences, Kandima, to discerning local and international buyers,” said Sanjay Maniku, Managing Director of Pulse Hotels & Resorts. “With its unparalleled design and amenities, homeowners can take advantage of a limitless world of activities and experiences on offer at Kandima. We believe this development will set a new standard for luxury living in the Maldives, as well as bringing a new definition to the Maldives family vacation.”

The Coral Residences is realised by Pulse Hotels & Resorts, the creators behind The Nautilus Maldives, Kandima Maldives, and Nova Maldives. Known for their innovative hospitality concepts, Pulse Hotels & Resorts ensures that each property offers exceptional experiences and world-class service. The development has commenced and is expected to complete within Q3, 2025.

For more information, high-resolution images, and to schedule a private viewing, please contact Aishath Ihuma, Director of Business Development at +960 7788986 or aishath.ihuma@coralresidencesmaldives.com.

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Weixin Pay supported to boost Chinese tourists to Maldives

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On May 27, Zihuny Rasheed, Deputy Managing Director of Maldives Marketing and PR Corporation (MMPRC/Visit Maldives), and Etienne Ng, Weixin Pay’s Country Manager, Singapore and Regional Director, Southeast Asia, WeChat Pay, signed a three-year Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) during ITB China 2024, pledging to support more Maldivian merchants to accept WeixinPay to provide Chinese tourists with a convenient payment experience. Visit Maldives is the Official Destination Partner for this year’s edition of ITB China.

“China is a key source of tourists for the Maldives, and we greatly value the experience of Chinese visitors,” said DMD Zihuny Rasheed. “We plan on promoting the acceptance of Weixin Pay throughout the country, offering Chinese tourists the payment option they are familiar with and prefer. I have used Weixin Pay during my visit to China via linking an international card, and I can attest to the convenience of the mobile payment option.”

Ibrahim Faisal, Minister of Tourism of the Maldives, expressed his support, “Excited that we’re introducing Weixin Pay for Chinese visitors, which is another step in establishing Maldives as their top destination. Now, it’s easier than ever for Chinese travellers to enjoy their stay, hassle-free. We look forward to further enhancing their experience,” he wrote.

According to Etienne Ng, Weixin Pay is currently being piloted at the country’s airport duty-free store, as well as in popular restaurants like Sala Thai and City Garden. Additionally, a range of hotels and resorts are participating including, JEN Maldives Malé by Shangri-La, Adaaran Select HudhuranFushi, Adaaran Club Rannalhi, Adaaran Prestige Vadoo, Adaaran Prestige Water Villas, Velaa Private Island, Cheval Blanc Randheli Private Island, Dhawa Ihuru Maldives, Ayada Maldives, Marriott Bonvoy, Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru, Conrad Maldives Rangali Island and Angsana Velavaru in Maldives with strong support from the Bank of Maldives and local merchants. Making smooth progress, the initiative is expected to have 8,000 merchants nationwide that integrate the payment option.

“Weixin Pay is committed to providing users with safe and convenient payment services. Since the visa exemption policy was implemented, more and more Weixin Pay users have chosen to travel to the island country. Through our cooperation with Visit Maldives, we aim to provide Chinese users with the same convenient experience in the travel as they experience at home,” he said.

In February 2023, an Agreement on Mutual Exemption of Visa Requirements signed between the Maldives and China took effect as China expands its visa-free policy to benefit more countries. Consequently, the Maldives has consistently ranked among the top overseas destinations for Chinese tourists during popular travel periods such as the May Day and National Day holidays.

According to data from Visit Maldives, the country welcomed over 1.8 million tourists in 2023, a new national record. The Chinese market has been a key source market for the Maldives. As of 11th May 2024, it is the number one source market with 91,073 tourist arrivals.

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Indian influencer Niki Mehra in Maldives

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Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC/ Visit Maldives) hosted a familiarisation trip with Amilla Maldives for high-end influencer, Niki Mehra, from India to experience the luxury and romantic offerings of the Maldives from 3rd – 6th May 2024.

The familiarisation trip was a great opportunity to Niki Mehra, a renowned Indian model, fashion, beauty and travel content creator and social media influencer with over half a million followers who has carved a niche in the Indian fashion industry with her unique sense of style. During her time in the Sunny Side of Life, Niki Mehra showcased luxury to romantic experiences of the destination.

The trip promoted Maldives through social media platforms of Niki Mehra while highlighting experiential itinerary offerings of the Maldives. Additionally, the influencer trip assisted MMPRC in propelling growth in the luxury travel segment and honeymoon market by showcasing the Maldives as a premier honeymoon destination for the Indian travellers.

The Indian market has been a strong market for the Maldives over the years, currently ranked number 6 with 46,970 tourists as of 13th May 2024. Additionally, MMPRC showcased the Maldives in OTM and SATTE held earlier this year. MMPRC is committed to boosting the arrivals from the market and has exciting marketing activities planned for future, including joint campaigns, familiarisation trips, participation in major events and other campaigns which provides numerous opportunities to showcase the breathtaking Maldives to the market, attracting more Indian travellers.

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